I’ve been silent these last few weeks. It’s not for want of trying, but for something to say. The weather just hasn’t been congenial for cycling or photography. I don’t mind (too much) riding in the rain, but I’m not going to bore everyone with mediocre photos of clouds, explaining how beautiful they’d be if you could only see the mountains in the background. 😮 This weekend, though, the cloud cover broke, on the other side of the state.
I wouldn’t have done this ride, normally, but I bought a new cycling guide book, 75 Classic Rides in Washington, and this is one of the routes it lists. Besides, I didn’t have better plans on Sunday.
Sunday was a blustery day in a windy land. The headwinds, as always, were brutal, but so were the cross winds. There were a lot of places where the road was protected by a strand of trees or by the hill side, only to come into an exposed zone once you’ve had a chance to pick up some speed. In the barren hills near Wenatchee, there were very few tell-tales to watch for gusts. Still, it rained in Seattle, and my sunburn was a good trade. 🙂
I took my bike to Leavenworth (where several other great rides have started, ended, or passed through), and rode to Wenatchee and back, almost entirely on side roads, often climbing partway up the walls of the Cashmere Valley. I turned around at the mighty Columbia River – the one Canada’s BC is named for – after dunking my head to cool down. This wasn’t a long climb followed by an endless descent, though, it was more like gentle rolling hills with an occasional rude segment.
For the cyclists reading this, I should say that I lost the route three times. Pine Flat Loop’s road sign is rotated enough that it’s hard to tell which way to go; the ‘wrong’ way still gets you where you need to be, but I missed a nice climb and descent, and a bit more scenery. I would have had to retrace my steps from Wenatchee if I didn’t have a GPS with maps. And I’m not sure what happened in Dryden. That said, it was a good time, and you should do a ride like this. (A map and elevation chart can be found at the end of this post.)
Heading east from Leavenworth, looking southwest toward Icicle Ridge or the Mount Stuart Range?
This is nothing like my normal style. I love it! While the extreme saturation and the brightness can be downright startling at first, the image grows on you quickly.
A panoramic image of the Cashmere Valley, walled in by the eastern flank of the Cascades. The valley itself is heavily irrigated and supports a lot of farms, but the background is a sagebrush steppe.
The Mount Stuart Range – still snowy in late June – in the background, with Peshastin orchards lining the back road I found myself on.